I've been using Chrome for so long that I am already used to the fact that the search bar is now integrated into the address bar. Pinning websites to the taskbar and the start menu is a cool feature, though not particularly useful for me, personally. And the navigation arrows can change color depending on the website you visit, that is just awesome.
At first glance the performance of the browser makes it clear that it is just a beta; in my case, a page will load only when the browser caches most of it (excluding pictures and flash ads) and this process isn't consistent with what the animation on the tab displays.
There's a lot of stuff left behind from IE8, both good and bad. The good are that all the old settings from IE8 are saved: addons, extensions, accelerators and their options etc.
The bad part is that if I choose to display the favorites bar, it looks exactly like in IE8, therefore it strikes me as pretty ugly and annoying. Also, choosing to "pin" the favorites explorer bar, which initially appears on the right, will be pinned to the left. Yuck. The download manager is clean and usable, once I set the folder in which I want to download all my files, I'm ready to go. The only bad side is that the download manager isn't displayed by default when the download starts. Also, the popup tab that shows up on the bottom of the browser window looks like its just misplaced to me, and there doesn't seem to be an option to move it around.
Still have to test Flash and Java, but overall... Its very, VERY different, and most definitely an improvement.